By Eliott Rodriguez

MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Immigration talks between the Biden administration and the Cuban government began Thursday in Washington.

While the talks seem to make sense in light of the large number of migrants, local exiles say Cuba has a poor history of abiding by immigration agreements.

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Among the migrants crossing the U.S. southern border, are large numbers of Cubans. An estimated 40,000 are living in the U.S. with final deportation orders from an immigration judge, but they cannot be sent back to Cuba because the Cuban government has stopped accepting them.

Now, the Biden administration has begun talks with Cuban government officials in Washington to discuss the problem.

Local Cuban exiles are not having it.

“A high-level commission from the United States is meeting with a high-level commission from Communist Cuba,” said Silvia Iriondo, of the Assembly of Cuban Resistance. “The Cuban government is the same government that supports Russia in their invasion of Ukraine.”

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Since last October, the Coast Guard has intercepted more than 1,400 Cubans at sea, compared to 838 in fiscal year 2021, 49 in fiscal year 2020 and 313 in fiscal year 2019.

Thousands more enter illegally through the U.S.-Mexico border but can’t be sent back because Cuba won’t take them.

Cuban exiles say the Cuban government cannot be trusted to abide by an immigration accord. They say Cuba opens and closes the flow of migrants to serve its political purposes.

“The U.S. administration is hurting the cause of a free Cuba,” said Luis Zuniga of the Assembly of Cuban Resistance. “The dictatorship needs to be sanctioned, secluded and isolated, no have us solve their problem.”

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Cuba blames U.S. sanctions and the closing of the American Consular Office in Havana for the uptick in illegal immigration to the U.S.

Eliott Rodriguez